A Little Bronze—Strategically Placed
by Tim Steury | © Washington State University
The Pullman campus was transformed for a couple of months during the fall of 2004, parts of it dramatically, with bronze representational sculpture, which, though drawn from various artists and locations around the country, was all cast at the Walla Walla Foundry.
Founded in 1980 by Mark Anderson, the Walla Walla Foundry is one of the most prominent fine-art bronze casting facilities in the country. Artists such as Jim Dine, Deborah Butterfield, John Buck, Marilyn Lysohir, and Terry Allen, all of whom were represented in the campus transformation, have their work cast at the foundry.
Dine's Technicolor Heart was placed on Stadium Way across from the French Administration Building. His Column with Axe stood on Terrell Mall between Wilson Hall and the Compton Union Building. And his Venuses, variations of which are based on the ancient Venus de Milo, resided at the end of Terrell Mall. One of Butterfield's starkly dramatic Horses stood along Stadium Way near Bustad Hall. Lysohir's Tattooed Lady stood next to Wilson Hall. Rude's A World Beyond sat in front of Bustad. Allen's whimsical Book sat in front of Holland Library, of course. John Buck's Red Horse Capture occupied the Todd Hall plaza opposite Holland. Most dramatically, Tom Otterness's three giant hay bale figures (Makin' Hay) oversaw campus from Observatory Hill. In all, 31 sculptures resided on 13 different sites across campus.
The outdoor exhibition coincided with a show of Dine's work in the WSU Museum of Art. Dine is one of the leading figures in contemporary art. He lives in New York, Paris, and Walla Walla.
Soon after Chris Bruce, the new Museum of Art director, arrived, curator Keith Wells suggested the idea of an exhibit focusing on the foundry. Bruce grabbed the idea and ran with it. Bruce, who came to WSU last year from Seattle's Experience Music Project, and before that from the Henry Art Gallery, has proved himself incapable of thinking small. He has also produced a book about the work of the foundry.
The sculptures graced the campus through October 2004. Through a combination of private donations and purchase by the Washington State Arts Commission, three of the works have remained on campus permanently. These include Dines's Technicolor Heart, Rude's A World Beyond, and Buck's Red Horse Capture.
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